Portland Cops' Treatment of Hip-Hop Shows Will Be Investigated in Wake of Blue Monk Incident

City Auditor's Office will conduct independent review.

Police outside the Illmaculate/Luck-One/Mikey Vegaz show at Blue Monk.

Following last Saturday's hip-hop show at the Blue Monk—which caused headliner Illmaculate to cancel his performance in protest over excessive police presence—the City Auditor's Independent Police Review Division has announced it is launching an investigation into the Portland Police Bureau's policies toward rap-related music events and venues. 

On March 1, officers, including members of the Gang Enforcement Team, converged on the Blue Monk on Southeast Belmont Street after receiving a call from the Fire Marshal reporting the venue was overcrowded. Police blocked off the street and barred attendees, including members of Illmaculate's entourage, from re-entering the venue, while about a dozen officers entered the club, taking photos and "creating an atmosphere of tension," says Illmaculate, whose given name is Gregory Poe. 

IPR Director Constantin Severe says the department received several community complaints specifically related to Saturday's incident, as well as other complaints "revolving around what they felt was unfair treatment by the police bureau vis-a-vis hip-hop venues and promoters." Severe says the investigation will look into the bureau's policies, to examine if hip-hop shows are treated the same as other concerts.

"If Modest Mouse is playing Blue Monk—that's a big group in a really small venue—would it receive the same type of presence?" Severe says.

The IPR asks the public—including members of the music industry—with relevant information contact them at 823-0146.

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